Solicitors cost a fortune so why use one?

This week I was in court again with a business person who hates the legal system. The judges are rotten. The barristers are all stupid, and whilst I am a nice person they would do it all better. Which begs the question, why bother to instruct me at all, why not just handle their own divorce and financial settlement?
This made me ponder the value of a specialist family lawyer. Of course it costs money, and of course the more you disagree with your other half the higher the cost will be. It also costs quite a bit to go to the dentist, but would you fancy filling your own teeth?
What I can offer is knowledge, amassed over a twenty year period. Clients are often in a state of confusion, panic and distress when they first come to see me. I can help them form a clearer picture very quickly. Whilst every case is different there are regular financial themes that occur. I know the relevant case law and what the likely outcome would be if the matter were to be heard by a judge. I know how to pitch an offer to try to reach a settlement that is workable. I like to think that that I can offer creative financial solutions. All of this is what a client needs quickly so that they can move on with their lives.
The legal process can be daunting. If a client is running a business that will probably have to be valued. Equally, if it is a new or, clearly not a very profitable business then I would try to make sure that precious money was not spent on a valuation. Pensions may need to be valued and advice given as to Pension Sharing. The correct level of maintenance needs to be agreed. In the long term it may be possible to pay a lump sum in lieu of maintenance, a clean financial break. Presenting a client’s case in the right way is crucial.
A divorce client is often going through one of the worst periods of their life. They can be very stressed. A lot of Emmersons Solicitors business clients are used to being in control of everything. They can therefore become very angry and frustrated if they are on the receiving end of divorce proceedings. However, appearing in court without a family law solicitor would be a disaster. They would be too emotional and quite often too aggressive to a judge. One client recently said that everyone in the court room was too polite to the judge. Luckily for him I had advised him not to speak! Thankfully he followed my advice and only addressed the judge after an order had been made in his favour. He doesn’t know how lucky he is.
So why instruct a solicitor?
Knowledge of the law, the procedure, the likely outcome. An ability to negotiate on your behalf, to be your voice, to protect you from your angry self, and to guide you through the legal process. Or you could borrow my pliers and take your own teeth out!